When this happens, it’s hard to see Hamas becoming more popular:
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have burned more than 1 million pills of a pain killer many Gazans take because they say it relaxes them.
Hamas Health Minister Basim Naim said Tuesday that the drug, Tramadol, was confiscated from smugglers who sneak it through tunnels under the Gaza-Egyptian border. At Gaza’s largest hospital, workers tossed sacks of the drug into an incinerator.
Naim said many in Gaza are addicted to Tramadol, which is supposed to be available only by prescription. The drug is a mild opioid and experts say regular use can cause flulike withdrawal symptoms.
Hamas has also banned smoking in government offices and recently seized cigarettes from shops across Gaza to collect taxes on them.
So these latest poll results are especially interesting, especially the growing support for a bi-national state:
The results of the public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre show that there is a rise in the level of satisfaction towards how Mahmoud Abbas assumes his role as President of the Palestinian National Authority from 39.4% in October 2009 to 48.2% in April 2010. Along the same lines, this latest poll, conducted over the period of 10-15 April 2010 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, shows a rise in the percentage of Palestinians who believe that the performance of Fayyad’s government is better than the performance of Haniyeh’s government from 26.9% in January 2009 to 42.9% this month.
The poll, which included a random sample of 1,198 respondents with a margin of error reaching +/- 3, showed a significant increase in the percentage of those who believe that the economic situation has improved under Fayyad’s government from 23.7% in April 2009 to 41.7% this month. On the other hand, assessment of the security performance of Fayyad’s government remained stable: 43.7% of the respondents said security and safety improved under Fayyad’s government while 31.7% of the respondents said they did not notice any change, and 19.6% said security and safety has deteriorated.
The same applies to the assessment of the respondents regarding the security performance of Haniyeh’s government when comparing the results of this poll and the results of the poll conducted in October 2009. The percentage of those who believe that the security performance of Haniyeh’s government has improved remained stable at around 32.4%, compared with 32.6% who said the performance deteriorated. The same applies to those who believe that economic performance improved under Haniyeh’s government.
Despite the belief that there is corruption inside the PNA, the percentage of those who believe there is corruption in general declined from 87.3% in March 2007 to 73.1% this month. Moreover, the percentage of those who believe that there is a high degree of corruption declined from 56.0% in March 2007 to 48.9% in April 2010.
Political forces and figures
Concerning the balance of power between religious and political parties and figures, the percentage of Palestinians who would vote for the Hamas movement decreased from 18.7% in October 2009 to 14.4% this April, while Fatah movement maintained its level of support at 39.7% in this poll which is very close to the percentage of support it received in October (40.0%).
When asked which public figures they would vote for if presidential elections were to be held this year, respondents chose President Mahmoud Abbas first, with 19.1% of respondents choosing him as compared with 16.8% of respondents in October. Marwan Barghouthi came in second place with 14.5% of respondents, followed by Ismail Haniyeh with 11.2% compared with 16.0% in October. Salam Fayyad came in fourth place with 6.7% of respondents expressing support compared with 4.2% in October. Mustafa Barghouthi came in fifth place with 4.7% of respondents compared with 6.8% in October. The percentage of Palestinians who do not want to vote increased from 23.8% in October to 27% this month.
The poll results also showed a notable increase in the level of support for the establishment of a bi-national state in all of Palestine from 20.6% in June 2009, to 33.8% this month while the percentage of Palestinians who support the two-state solution declined from 55.2% last June to 43.9% in April 2010.